The Case For Feminism In 2020

Fight for gender equality is crucial even in 2020

Junior Cassandra “Cassie” Blaufuss said gender discrimination is very real in today’s society. She said she classifies herself as a feminist and said she generally expects most other people to be feminists too.

I am a feminist because I believe that the patriarchy negatively affects everyone and there should be equality between genders,” Blaufass said via email. “I think that those who are anti-feminist don’t fully understand what the (feminist) movement stands for and why it will benefit both genders.”

Blaufuss said she has faced discrimination in her life where people did not believe she could do something simply based on her gender. 

She said, “Usually I feel most underestimated in school. For example, in group projects with male peers, I feel like I am often seen as less smart simply because of my gender.”

According to Catherine Dobris, director of the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies program at IUPUI, Blaufuss’s encounters with sexism are not unique.

“Most, if not all, girls and women have dealt with sexism in their lives in some capacity,” Dobris said. Providing examples of her own exposure, Dobris said, “Because I am female, I have often been underestimated, but I have used this situation to challenge myself to do more with my life.”

Blaufuss said she does not deny women in other countries face more oppression than the average American woman. However, she said even seemingly small discriminations between men and women can have a large negative impact on both genders.

Blaufuss said, “The fight for gender equality has changed in the United States because technically women have ‘equal rights.’ Less than a century ago, women weren’t allowed to vote and many people believe that,since we have been granted equal rights, all other issues have disappeared. However, this is not the case because while the inequality has been lessened, it is still present.”

Dobris agreed there is a continued necessity for feminism in today’s society as there are many common instances of sexism in everyday lives. For example, she said there is still disparity between men’s and women’s treatment and pay in the workplace. 

“We still live in a world where women are often not paid the same as men for the same jobs.” She said, “We still live in a world in which women think that they must be the primary caretakers for children and often also for their husbands and extended family—while holding down part(-time) or full-time jobs.”

Dobris said she he acknowledged the gains the feminist movement has had over the years, especially with regards to voting rights.

“But we are nowhere close to done,” She said. “We still live in a world in which little boys are taught by our culture that they are ‘better’ than little girls—to ‘throw like a boy’ is considered good, whereas there is nothing a boy can do ‘like a girl,’ which is considered good. Imagine saying to a boy, for example, ‘Wow, you cook almost as well as a girl,’ and considering that to be a compliment.”

In contrast, sophomore Noah Meroueh said he does not believe in the feminist movement as it exists today. 

He said, “I support the concept (of feminism) but not the movement because the movement has many flaws and negative impacts.”

He elaborated on these impacts, citing his own personal experiences with feminists and the feminism movement.

Meroueh said, “Every interaction I’ve had with a feminist (has been negative). Feminism (should instead) focus on the real issues, the real inequalities that are happening between men and women, as opposed to just indoctrinating this hatred toward men.”

 Despite differing views, Blaufuss said she agreed with Meroueh that the feminist movement seems to alienate men. She said reducing gender stereotypes should profit men, for example in custody battles where women are often favored.

Blaufuss said, “ Feminism is supposed to help both men and women. However, many feminist men get made fun of and are not taken as seriously as a feminist woman.”

For her part Dobris said the feminist movement actually benefits men in the long run.

She said, “We still live in a world that tells men it is wrong for them to cry or express their feelings…Feminism is important for all people everywhere—for women, as well as men. When women are liberated from constricting social roles, men can also be liberated to be

more of whom they wish to be. I am a proud feminist.”

Altogether, the need for equality was not disputed by any source. Blaufuss said people can take steps toward equality by limiting the assumptions one makes based on gender and actively encouraging breaking gender norms.

“I think those who believe there are no gender issues are choosing to be ignorant because they are not personally affected.” Blaufuss said, “Society has progressed past the previous gender roles where men had to hunt and work while a woman would care for the children. I don’t think any anatomical differences (between men and women) are large enough where equality becomes unattainable.”